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NewsClick case: Supreme Court directs AIIMS to conduct medical examination of founder Prabir Purkayastha

The Supreme Court today directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi to conduct an independent medical examination of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha.

A Bench comprising Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta observed that the board consisting of specialist medical officers, Central Jail Tihar is received. It is submitted that the report does not show the true medical condition of the petitioner and that the record will reveal the report is not correct, the bench added. 

The bench further remarked that considering the submissions it will be appropriate that the medical condition is examined by a board appointed by the AIIMS Director. It noted that the board shall also consider the jail records, complete medical history of the petitioner. It scheduled the matter for hearing after two weeks. 

When a passover was sought and the matter was scheduled for 2 PM today, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Prabir Purkayashta, remarked that the founder should not pass away while the Delhi Police keep asking for a passover. The Senior Advocate added that the medical report does not show what has happened in the jail, mentioning that jail records must be called.

The apex court rejected the argument of Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Delhi Police, that Prabir Purkayastha was asking for special treatment. The court noted that if Asaram Bapu could get medical treatment at AIIMS, the NewsClick founder could as well.

The Supreme Court bench was hearing a plea filed by Prabir Purkayastha challenging the Delhi High Court’s order upholding the trial court decision to remand him and others to police custody.

Prabir Purkayastha was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and arrested on October 3 following a series of raids conducted in the wake of allegations made in a New York Times article that NewsClick was being paid to boost Chinese propaganda. The arrests were made after several hours of questioning.

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